Friday, December 20, 2013

What the DUCK? Thoughts on the Outrage over Phil Robertson's Interview with GQ

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.  
(1 Corinthians 13: 1-3)

By now, nearly everyone has heard about GQ magazine's recent interview with Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson and how Robertson, when was asked for his definition of sin responded, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.” He continued by paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

GQ then goes on to explain that the Duck Dynasty family have been made "into ideal Christian icons..."

Christian icons. That alone is scary.

So ever since the article in GQ was released there has been an uproar from the gay community, and in response, A&E announced that Robertson would be suspended from upcoming Duck Dynasty episodes.

As one would expect, many in the Christian community have responded with an uproar all-their-own because their icon will no longer appear on the show. Thousands of Christians have joined Facebook groups and signed petitions for Robertson. On Christianity Today's website, Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer said that Robertson is "being censored and punished for quoting the Bible..."

To be honest, I am outraged too, but not because the Duck Dynasty "king" will no longer be on a show that I never watched. I am outraged because the majority of my fellow Christians are, once again, making a huge fuss over the wrong matter, shaking their fists at A&E and posting, "I stand with Phil Robertson" all over Facebook, as though a mighty injustice has been done to free speech, the right to religious beliefs, and that this ordeal is anti-Christian persecution. I won't go into the reasons why this perspective is sadly inaccurate, but you're welcome to read one of my favorite blogger's posts on the matter: "Real vs. Fake Christian Persecution: how to tell the difference".

Another reason I am outraged is because my fellow Christians are not outraged at the fact that here we have yet another horrible representation of a follower of Jesus! Don't we already have enough of these misleading "Christian icons" with The 700 Club, Joel Osteen, Mark Driscoll, Fox News and their kind? Mr. Robertson and those mentioned above are not spreading the gospel in the way Jesus instructed his followers.

And why the duck is the Christian community giving Robertson an oh-well-we-all-say-stupid-things-sometimes pass over the fact that he said "a vagina... has more there" and "She has more to offer." Is that not a completely disrespectful, undermining, sexually objectifying statement against women? If the pastor of your church said that in a magazine interview, would you be surprised that he was suspended from his position?

In a USA Today opinion piece, Steve Deace explains that this incident with Robertson is giving power to a 'tolerance' society who are trying to make American Christians afraid to publicly declare what the Bible says about sin, and well, this should trouble us, because Jesus never minced words when it came to sin, right?

It's funny, because when I take a good look through the gospels, I see that Jesus was often harsh and painfully honest when pointing out the sins... of the Pharisees, the Teachers of the Law, the hypocrites --those who believed themselves to be the ministers of God's word! Check out Matthew 23 to see what I mean.

On the other hand, when I read the gospels, I do not see Jesus speaking publicly with the same harsh tone he used with the Pharisees. Jesus was not a "bible-thumper" with the crowds, no, to them he proclaimed the love of the Father, admonished them to love one another, to forgive their enemies, and he kinda made a big deal about not judging one another.

While I am outraged at the many "Christian icons" misrepresenting the gospel, I am also thrilled that there is currently a person very much in the public eye: Pope Francis, who was just made person of the year in both Time and the LGBT magazine The Advocate!

Pope Francis is effectively drawing all kinds of people and renewing a global interest in God. How is he doing that? The answer is not hard to see: Pope Francis is actually demonstrating the Father's love! Yes, the Pope's open, loving, non-judgmental ways are truly impacting people, as well as upsetting many conservative, fundamental Christian leaders --and don't think for one moment that is a coincidence! If the Pope is getting the same kind of reaction from religious leaders that Jesus did while he was ministering on earth, then maybe we should take it as a sign that this way of spreading the gospel --with love, not with bible thumping-- is the way Jesus intended!

When it comes to his concerns for the church, Pope Francis recently said that his "hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us, 'Give them something to eat.'"

Now that is something I believe is worthy of Christians to be upset about: the world around us is poor and starving, and there are more of us shouting protest for a man being thrown off his reality show than there are those who are raising their voices to help the people in our cities who have no home, no belongings, and no glorious dining-room table to place a roasted, wild duck upon.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

so, i'm 40 now, and my son is 18

there is really too much to say, and i haven't had the energy or desire to put words in this blog. but since my family just experienced two monumental birthdays, i feel compelled to write something.

on the 12th, Jonah turned 18. his dad and i are amazed that he is now a "man" and a wonderful man at that.

to commemorate his 18th year, i put together a scrapbook of photos from his life, as well as letters from us, his grandmothers, aunts and uncles, and family friends. this will not be a scrapbook left on the coffee table for anyone to see, but his personal book to hopefully give him encouragement now, and in future as well.

the idea for the scrapbook came about from some old advice a christian counselor once gave, explaining how other cultures have a "rite of passage" when a child in their family or community becomes an adult.

in the culture Jeremy and i were brought up in, this doesn't seem to be the case. maybe high school graduation does it for some. i didn't have a graduation. i dropped out because of chronic migraines and i actually got my GED before my class graduated. but i never got to throw a square hat up in the air.

from the pictures i've seen of Jeremy's graduation, he wasn't fully present. he's wearing a sly, relaxed smile, and his eyes are small and puffed up. emphasis on puffed.

when we married, Jeremy was one year older than Jonah is now. i know. holy crap, right? we've advised Jonah against going down the same path, unless it is God's will. it was God's will for us, we just didn't know a whole lot about God or what his will actually looks like. we honestly believed we'd be alternative, christian musicians. we wrote songs, we were pretty, and God was going to make us very popular and prosperous as we spread the gospel through our cool, christian songs. oh. boy. how stupid.

thank God Jonah is far wiser and realistic than we were. he doesn't have super, big, crazy expectations about his future. he lives very much in the moment, and his faith in God is strong and steady. he can even verbally express his feeling and thoughts coherently, and get to the bottom of what is going on inside him. Jeremy and i just began learning this technique five or so years ago. no, i'm serious.

i know i cannot control what God brings into Jonah's future life, but i pray pray pray that he has a better, less pain-and-suffering life than we have had. there are lots of christians out there who have it pretty good, and if it is God's will that Jonah be one of them, i'll be very happy. i don't need another reason to be angry and doubt God and his love. seriously. i'm working deeply with my christian counselor on such matters, and it is good, but, as always, scary as hell. scary as hell to trust God? yes.
but i'm not going to go on about that. not now.

i will, however, tell you that on the 15th i turned 40, had a Doctor Who costume party, because that's what i do (i'm really a 10 year old at heart, in case you didn't know) and i was incredibly blessed by my friends and family who attended. even Jeremy's mom was in town to celebrate with us! Jeremy baked Jonah and i cakes, mine was a TARDIS blue, gluten free, vegan cake (soooo yummy) and Jonah's a yellow cake with chocolate fudge icing. then, a few days later, my dear, dear bible study friends threw me a surprise birthday dinner: vegan sushi!!! heck, yes!

so in the end, our birthdays were filled with love, fun and blessings, and i am so grateful to God, and our family and friends who celebrated with us! THANK YOU!!! it means more than you know.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

i am INFP, what are you?

do you know what personality type you are? finding out may liberate you, as it did for me.

i have always wondered (and often hated) why i am so odd/unusual/freakish, and why i have needs and habits i cannot shake, such as the need to spend a lot of time alone, or why i am often disorganized and unmotivated. why do i feel so incredibly passionate about certain things, like raising awareness about the horrors of meat industry, and for fellow believers to really "get" and experience the love God has for them, and the freedom that is found in His love!

so, i took many different versions of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator tests that are available on-line, and my results kept coming up INFP. but before i get into that, here are the 16 different personality types, and four different categories those types fit into, according to Myers-Briggs:

after reading about my type, it was as if God was saying to me,"You are the way you are, because I made you that way!" which was very reassuring. of course, not all of the attributes of an INFP apply to me (like being shy or reserved), but the majority of them do.

here's a breakdown of the letters INFP:

here's a summary of an INFP:

INFP is rare personality type, making up about 4 % of the population.
INFPs are the flower children of the personality types. They never lose their sense of wonder. As children INFPs will live in both the fantasy and the real world, switching back and forth effortlessly. Their imaginations are vast and they are the children whose toys come to life and who have imaginary friends. Some INFPs claim that everything has a "soul", animals and humans alike. (Yep, that's me!)

INFPs, more than other iNtuitive Feeling types, are focused on making the world a better place.
INFPs are passionate about their values, and find meaning in supporting the personal development of others. They easily recognize the possibilities for growth in themselves and others, and often have a vision for how to heal the world around them. INFPs often feel dejected because of the numerous bad things happening in the world and try hard to create something positive within it.

An INFP views their conflicts as being on a grander scale relating to all situations – not simply in the moment, but looking at all of life as Good vs. Evil. INFPs believe that good always triumphs over evil and will want to spread this message to anyone who will listen.
INFPs always have a sense of other-worldliness about them and are often caught day-dreaming.

Many writers and poets are INFPs, as they may be awkward and uncomfortable with expressing themselves verbally, but have a wonderful ability to define and express what they're feeling on paper.

INFPs have a strong sense of metaphor. They may ascribe human characteristics to animals or inanimate objects. For example, they may see a fly sitting on the glass and wonder what it is thinking, then come up with a meaningful story about how it feels to be separated from everything you desire by an invisible wall.
INFPs feel restricted by rules and structure and have a hard time performing job tasks that do not connect to their values. INFPs do not like to deal with hard facts and logic. Their focus on their feelings and the Human Condition makes it difficult for them to deal with impersonal judgment. The INFP is not particularly driven by money or status, preferring work that aligns with their personal values and allows them to help others.

Although they view the world in a joyous manner, INFPs are not exempt from feeling down at times; they struggle to maintain ethical perfection and will feel as if they failed when they are being anything less than "perfect" in the humanitarian sense. Of all types, INFPs are most likely to report suicidal thoughts.

There is a crusading side to the INFP. When personal values or beliefs are trodden on, the INFP can become outspoken and turn on the transgressor. The INFP becomes like a champion of the causes they hold dear, and will be expressive, animated and at times go for the jugular.

INFPs do not like to be categorised. They value their autonomy, and feel "different", and like that.

INFPs have deep emotions which are often hidden until a circumstance reveals them. Their abstract thinking, related to the prefrontal cortex, suggests that INFPs have deeper emotions then most.

Highly creative, artistic and spiritual, INFPs can produce wonderful works of art, music and literature. INFPs find great satisfaction if they develop their artistic abilities. That doesn't mean that an INFP has to be a famous writer or painter in order to be content. Simply the act of "creating" will be a fulfilling source of renewal and refreshment to the INFP.

^ this is me back in the 90's!
Some famous INFP's are C.S. Lewis,  J.R.R. Tolkien, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, J.K. Rowling, Tim Burton, Florence Welch, Thom Yorke and Morrissey.

INFP summary: creative, smart, idealist, loner, attracted to sad things, disorganized, avoidant, can be overwhelmed by unpleasant feelings, prone to quitting, prone to feelings of loneliness, ambivalent of the rules, solitary, daydreams about people to maintain a sense of closeness, focus on fantasies, acts without planning, low self confidence, emotionally moody, can feel defective, prone to lateness, likes esoteric things, wounded at the core, feels shame, frequently losing things, prone to sadness, prone to dreaming about a rescuer, disorderly, observer, easily distracted, does not like crowds, can act without thinking, private, can feel uncomfortable around others, familiar with the dark side, hermit, more likely to support marijuana legalization, can sabotage self, likes the rain, sometimes can't control fearful thoughts, prone to crying, prone to regret, attracted to the counter culture, can be submissive, prone to feeling discouraged, frequently second guesses self, not punctual, not always prepared, can feel victimized, prone to confusion, prone to irresponsibility, can be pessimistic

favored INFP careers: poet, painter, freelance artist, musician, writer, art therapist, teacher (art, music, drama), songwriter, art historian, library assistant, composer, work in the performing arts, art curator, playwright, bookseller, cartoonist, video editor, photographer, philosopher, record store owner, digital artist, cinematographer, costume designer, film producer, philosophy professor, librarian, music therapist, environmentalist, movie director, activist, bookstore owner, filmmaker

if you are interested in finding out what personality type you are, go here:
or for a shorter version:

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I feel as though I am still waking from the strange dream of December.
I am here, but not yet fully alert.

On Christmas day, Jeremy, Jonah and I opened presents and Jeremy made us a wonderful dinner.
I am so grateful for my two guys. They are the two most precious people in the world to me.

Christmastime comes these days (or past few years) with memories and the heartache of missing those times when we were a young, married couple, when Jonah was a little boy, of how at Christmas we traveled to see my parents, sister and nephew in Georgia, then drove through to Alabama to see Jeremy's family. We took for granted that such times would end, that our fathers would be gone, and our traditions and gatherings gone with them. The whole family dynamic changes when the patriarch of a family dies.

Thankfully, this year, we did get to see family during the month of December. My sister and her son were able to come out before Christmas, on the weekend of the 15th, for our Hobbit Holiday Celebration. Then Jeremy's family came to visit us a few days after Christmas. There were nine guests altogether that time, and it was wonderful to have a house full of those we love!

I am grateful to God for making it possible for our family to visit us, because we really cannot travel these days, so our time with family is very precious.

I didn't get to see my mom this Christmas or last Christmas either, which was hard. You see, my mother was at the heart our family Christmases. When my sister and I were little, she went above and beyond at Christmastime, and my father played a huge part too. There were about 20 boxes of Christmas decor which were strewn all over the house --inside and out. There were cookies to be baked, letters for Santa, Christmas caroling, parties, and then Christmas morning, which was the best.

My mom carried on with most of our family Christmas traditions for a couple of years after dad died, but then we were unable to travel out to see her (or even Jeremy's family) and suddenly all of us --our mothers, siblings and their families-- found our Christmases to be much smaller, if not much lonelier. Maybe if we had not known how big and magical Christmas could be, then our Christmases today would not seem so small and empty. I am not saying we take Christmas for granted now. Like I said, I love my two guys, I love our extended family who are able to visit us. We all have much more than many, many people in the world. We just have grown older, and the holidays that were, are no more, and will never be again... and this is why people have mid-life crisis... you never imagine the good times will end...

or to think, in a few years time, your Christmases may be even smaller.